Laser Squad Expansion Kit 2 (Target Games) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action


Laser Squad Expansion Kit 2
By Target Games
Amstrad CPC464

 
Published in Amstrad Action #56

Laser Squad Expansion Kit 2

Remember Laser Squad - Mastergame from AA 49? Well, it's back with a vengeance.

For those who don't know, Laser Squad is a wargame that concentrates on small scale skirmishes. You're put in command of a small unit of troops, typically between five and ten men, with instructions to carry out a mission.

With limited cash resources you must buy armour and weapons, juggling your figures to come up with the best combination. Once kitted out, it's into the fray, running around the battlefield vying for tactical position and blasting the enemy with futuristic hardware.

The game works via a series of turns. On your turn, you can perform actions such as moving men, picking up objects and firing. Each unit is allocated a number of 'action points' to carry out these activities. You must use them wisely - running out of action points in the middle of a wide open space is not a good idea.

Three different scenarios accompanied the original Laser Squad. Also available at the time of release was Expansion Kit One, adding a couple of additional games (The disk version of Laser Squad included all five scenarios). Now Target games has released Expansion Kit Two, with a pair of brand new scenarios to test your tactical wargaming to the full (you still need the original game disk to run it).

The first of the new games is called The Stardrive. The Rebels have been working away on a powerful new fighter for their continuing struggle against the oppressive Federation. It seems that a bunch of mercenaries, known by the terrifying name of The Engineers [Ulp! - Ed] have nicked a vital component and taken it back to their underworld base. A platoon of squaddies - the Seventh Brigade - are under orders to retrieve the Stardrive at all costs. They have to work their way through the robot-infested sewers beneath the city which the Engineers call home. Once through the smelly sluices, the boys have to force their way into the hideout, find the device and get back in one piece.

The second scenario, Laser Platoon, involves all-out war between the Rebels and the Federation. Both sides have control of one half of a moonbase. The objective is to take the other half. So important is the battle that both sides are drafting in as many men as possible, and reinforcements are beamed down into the combat zone at regular intervals. There's no surrender. Total elimination of the opposition is the only way to win.

The Stardrive is one of the toughest Laser Squad scenarios to date. The Rebels have to move fast. The sewers really are robot-infested. Destroy a robot and it re-generates after a few turns. The Engineers can use this to their advantage, hiding out in strategic positions, ready to pick off the laser squad as they make their way across the map. Once arrived at the hideout, the rebels have to force their way in, and the only way through is via a few security doors. Clue - a Las-Cutter is a vital piece of equipment if you're to have any hope of completing the mission.

Laser Platoon is a real bloodbath. The game is set to last up to 255 turns (i.e. indefinitely), and the constant resupply of units means that you could be in charge of up to ten men at a time. Weapons and armour are dirt cheap, so you can equip yourself with Auto-Cannons, Rocket Launchers, and all the best hardware. Life too is cheap, and you'll find that tit-for-tat killings knock down the amount of troops you have at an alarming rate. The map is exactly symmetrical, with both sides in control of equal areas at the start of the game. The only way to win is total obliteration of the enemy... and that counts for both sides!

The computer plays a good game in both scenarios. As with all Laser Squad games, though, the real fun is to be had with the two-player version (the computer opponent isn't that smart). The second game especially is brilliant, and turns out to be a real massacre.

Expansion Kit Two makes a change from previous Laser Squad scenarios. It adds even more strategy and gameplay to a release simply oozing with the stuff anyway. If you don't have Laser Squad already, our advice is simple: Buy it!

Second Opinion

Laser Squad is like chess with guns. Against a human opponent, it is one of the classic games of our time.

First Day Target Score

Capture the Stardrive on Level 1.

Green Screen View

A shame but not a tragedy.

Verdict

Graphics 85%
P. Clear and uncluttered.

Sonics 30%
P. Fairly basic, but they let you know exactly what's going on.

Grab Factor 90%
N. The original scenarios pinned you down a fraction quicker.

Staying Power 97%
P. These extra scenarios are big.

Overall 93%
Two excellent additions to a game that was excellent already.

Adam Waring

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